How may ablations can one person have?

Having just had my third catheter ablation; I am guessing that 3 is the limit?

The first was for atrial flutter, the second and third for paroxymal atrial fibrillation. Of the second two, the first was freezing (cryoablation) and this week's a radio frequency ablation. I didn't know until the registrar at Hammersmith Hospital told me this week that two cryoablations are not possible. Of course I'm hoping for this to be the last anyway.

16 Replies

  • However many the EP is prepared to try. I know of people with five and one claim of eight.

  • I'm about to have my fourth, I don't think there is a limit unless the EP feels that doing more would not be worthwhile.

  • Probably depends on individual factors. My first two did practically nothing. Third got rid of the afib. Now need a forth touchup for a flutter.

  • I've had 3 and although the 3rd was unsuccessful I was told no more. This was down to the EP's feeling that he had done as much as he could rather than it been 3 is the limit.

  • Your first ablation for flutter was probably in the right atrium so doesn't count. But around 3 sounds right. The problem is that the scar tissue builds up and this can be a problem. Have you taken every possible lifestyle change to improve your chances of success?

  • Well, yes I don't do anything to provoke the condition. I haven't had a recurrence yet anyway, just thinking ahead. It was apparently 2 of the same electrical pathways that had broken through again that necessitated my ablation this week. Most pathways remained sealed off.

  • Interesting question. I was informed by a cardiologist that they had been referred a patient to ablate who had previously had 12 ablations.

  • Wow!

  • Hello Suzanne

    I have had 4 x AF ablations and 2 x flutter ablations.

    I was told that if my last recent one was not successful they would still consider another each one adding to the previous work.

    It is a bit trying but for me any hope of defeating this awful affliction is worth a try.


  • Interesting. I remember when I asked about the chances of success at the time of my first ablation for fibrillation the answer was "think of it as the beginning of a course of treatment."

  • I think it may be one crying because of the technique and the irregularity of the veins into the heart and that TF is used to touch up the breakthroughs. RF has to be used in the atrium itself.

  • Had my 10th six weeks ago.

  • Wow, I hope this is the one that ends your problems. Have they been spread over a lot of years?

  • About ten years I think, I had three in two months which was very early on. I put a post up about my 9th 18 months ago which got mixed comments. Hopefully I'll never need the 11th. Keep well.

  • dont you think to many ablations can damage the heart

  • I have had 3 AF ablations and was told not much point in having any more and should go the pace and ablate route . So in April I was fitted with a 3 lead pacemaker and have now decided to be AV node ablated after another bout of AF. Fingers crossed that should be the finish of it.

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